The students at Allentown’s Cleveland Elementary School have grown up looking at PPL’s Tower Building headquarters. Once a month, some of them get an opportunity to see what goes on inside it.

Each month during the school year, about 15 Cleveland students who have received awards for good or improved behavior and grades get to visit the Tower. The students have seen everything from the basement printing center to the views from the 21st floor, where they try to spot the PPL Center, Dorney Park, and their homes.

PPL’s Bill Agee takes a question from students on the tour.

The visits by third- through fifth-graders are part of PPL’s longstanding relationship with Cleveland Elementary, one of several center-city Allentown schools PPL supports.

General Office employees have volunteered to tutor Cleveland students for more than 25 years. The company also provided financial support for Cleveland to become a United Way Community School, allowing it to receive programs and services that drive positive change in the development and education of the students.

“Our students absolutely love the PPL tour,” Principal Tonya Swavely said. “Students look forward to getting the award each month.  They are excited to see where all of our PPL volunteers work each day.”

Most recently, the kids visited the innovation lab, a unique space where employees use a defined process to develop solutions to business challenges. It’s an open, colorful space, meant to encourage creative thinking – and it certainly got the kids asking questions.

Business Finance Specialist Bill Agee explained innovation, shared the importance of electrical safety, and took questions on topics ranging from underground electrical wiring, to the Tower’s traditional December holiday lights, to the nearby PPL Center, to the completely random (“Hey, Bill! Are you on the 20-dollar bill?”)

After Agee spoke, Administrative Specialist Brittany Zane of PPL TransLink gave an accessible, interactive presentation on where electricity comes from and how it’s delivered to homes and businesses.

The student visits had been coordinated by Senior Financial Specialist Tom Brauchle, PPL’s longtime liaison to the Cleveland School, who recently retired. Now they’re organized by Shelby Buchman, staff analyst-Finance.

“We try to make the visits both fun and educational, so the students learn more about our company, our people, and what we do in the Tower and elsewhere,” Buchman said.